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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Leeto wins race but not SA title as Bennet Seloyi secures first major victory at Race to Equality & ASA 10km Champs

Mathews Leeto was in consolable as he sat dejected draped in a towel just outside the doping control area after finishing the Motsepe Foundation Race to Equality at Marks Park yesterday (10 March, 2024) morning. Because the race incorporated the Athletics South Africa (ASA) 10km Championships, all contenders took part strictly on the invitation of their provinces after running qualifying times. Running in the colours of Athletics Central North West (ACNW), the man who won the Foskor Half Marathon last year caused an upset when he breasted the finish tape in 29:26 ahead of his more fancied Central Gauteng Athletes (CGA) competitors such as Kabelo Mulaudzi, only to be disqualified for running with a temporary licence.

Heartbreak for Leeto who missed out on a maiden SA title. Photo Credit: Tumelo Mabua.

That disqualification from the ASA Championship race meant that although Leeto bags the R20 000 cheque for winning the race, the R15 000 ASA prize money went to second placed Bennet Seloyi (29:43) who was elevated to the status of national champion. Third placed Mulaudzi (29:50) was promoted to runner-up as CGA secured first and second and the final spot on the podium went to KwaZulu-Natal Athletics’ Sibusiso Kubheka (29:56). 

Seloyi, Muluadzi and Kubheka were each elevated a by a position after Leeto's disqualification. Photo Credit: SMacPix.

Thembisa-based Seloyi’s coach Best Ngwenya spoke to #TheTopRunner saying he is not surprised by how well his athlete ran. “This race is part of our preparation for the World Cross Country Championships in Serbia at the end of March. He will be running the men’s 10km race there so we wanted to do well on this hilly course. He is also strong because he ran the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon last year where he was number 20 in 2:18:01. This result at the 10km champs means our preparations are going well.”

In the women’s race Glenrose Xaba underlined her status as the best female 10km runner in the country as she led from gun to tape to win in 33:00 just two days after running an impressive 32:04 to win the Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) 10 000m title. Her AGN teammate and training partner Karabo Mailula took second in 34:35, while CGA’s Cacisile Sosibo was third in 35:52.

Xaba and Mailula led AGN to the team prize as CGA led by Cacisile Sosibo took second. Photo credit: SMacPix.

Mailula who recently won gold at the World University Cross Country Championships in Oman, was pleased with her run on the tough course. “It was tough. This race is tough. It has a lot of hills. From 3km I saw that I was second so I just pushed to try and maintain the second place. I feel good because I see a lot of improvement. I’m also happy with my time because even though the race was tough I was only one minute outside my PB,” said the University of Pretoria athlete.

In the half marathon race Maxed Elite's Jobo Khatoane (1:05:48) caused an upset as he bested Nedbank's Onnalenna Khonkhobe (1:05:55) to walk away with the R42 000 winner's cheque from the Motsepe Foundation. Joel Mmone was third in 1:06:52. In the women's race Kenya's Regina Ndungu (1:16:00) had too much firepower for the Hollywood Athletics Club duo of Cian Oldknow (1:17:01) and Neheng Khathala (1:18:13).

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